“We have to talk” may be four of the most terrifying words in the English language. Whether it’s a lover, a parent, a boss or a friend, more often than not we assume the worst and tremble with dread. Have you ever wondered how much we are conditioned and implanted to avoid the very conversations that might set us free?
You see, as uncomfortable as these types of conversations can be, I’ve also experienced how they can change EVERYTHING when we are willing to have them with walls and barriers down.
It seems that as long as we share this planet with other people, miscommunication, missteps and seeing life from different perspectives is inevitable. In a split second we can be triggered by someone’s words or actions. And even over time, standards, behaviors and agreements that once worked may stop working and require re-negotiation.
A couple years ago I asked for more vulnerability in my life, and it changed SO much. Acknowledging that choice and being aware of all the things going on in the world, I felt pulled to share some tips for having these vulnerable conversations. As much as these discussions can stretch us, if consciously co-created, they can actually invite the possibility to improve relationships and expand awareness.
5 Tips for Vulnerable Conversations
#1 Lower Walls and Barriers
When you approach a conversation do you ever check your walls and barriers? Do you come to the conversation open and unguarded or ready to defend?. As uncomfortable as it may be, I invite you to lower your walls and barriers before starting to converse. imagine trying to play catch with a cement wall in between you and the other person. Every throw, regardless of who tosses it, continuously bounces back to the sender and the game goes nowhere.
Instead, be brave, be kind, and start gently. Imagine the conversation like a kids field day picnic game, tossing an egg back and forth carefully and calmly so as not to break it. Keep checking in with yourself and your walls and barriers throughout the conversations to be sure the exchange stays generative.
#2 Be willing to receive
When we invite these challenging conversations, we are asking for input other than our own. Some of the content that comes up may be new, unexpected, or even raw. What if you were willing to receive it all?
Yes, intensity may come up as the energies start to stir and release. The volume may increase, words may come faster and faster, emotions may surface. Stay present. It’s actually not personal. It is just energy.
How much allowance can you have for the words used during this exchange? Everyone is doing their best to express all of the energies, feelings, and points of view, but there’s no perfect way to do it. One or the other of you may say something imperfectly or inaccurately.
If something pricks at you, what if you ask for clarification? Ask, “is that true”? Invite them to hear themselves and know what they know. You do not have to align and agree. You can acknowledge what someone is saying without buying it as true for you. Simply receive the words in the moment and see where the conversation takes you. Follow the energy.
#3 Interesting Point of View
Everyone comes to the table with their unique upbringing, experiences, wounds and strategies. The goal with these conversations isn’t to be right and make the other person wrong. The goal isn’t to recruit someone to your way of thinking. The goal isn’t winning. The desired outcome in conscious communication is to simply look at any situation without judgement or projection in order to reveal the energies at play.
The interesting point of view tool can be your best friend 😉 Remember to say to yourself, “interesting point of view I have that point of view, interesting point of view they have that point of view”. Be a willing listener. What they say is as real to them as what you say is real to you. They’re just seeing it from another side of the water bottle.
#4 Speak Your Truth
A vulnerable conversation is purposeful. When your inner knowing pings you to explore a vulnerable conversation, you are aware of something. What if the situation present requires both people to discover the possibilities hidden beneath the “problem”. It is as if each of you holds a puzzle piece, without either of which the big picture will not be revealed.
What if you didn’t have to say the perfect or right thing? What if you could just follow your knowing? When you know something needs to be said, withholding that information is not a kindness. You may think you are protecting the other person, but you may be robbing them of the exact experience and energy required to crack something open, gifting both of you the change you have been asking for.
#5 Let it be Messy
These conversations may not be tied up in a pretty bow in one sitting. You may not reach a resolution right away. You might need to take a break and revisit the content later in the day or in a week or a month, whatever is required. Let the energies move, information be revealed and yourself be stirred. I call this being uncomfortably incomplete.
A vulnerable conversation is vulnerable because you are choosing to to be exposed and you don’t know where it will lead. Make no mistake, no matter how wrong or bad or offensive you think the other person is being, this topic is up for you because there is something for you to look at. Think of this process like a washing machine. You are coming together to soak, stir, and agitate the stuck energies so they can be released. Allow your awareness to surface, allow yourself to be changed. What they choose and work through is actually irrelevant and not in your control.
Lastly, how curious can you be? It never shows up the way you think it’s going to.
What if the next time it’s “time to talk“, you think of that moment as a rollercoaster ride? Each click up the incline gets scarier and scarier as you realize you have hit the point of no return. Butterflies fill your stomach as you reach the peak. Are you nervous or are you excited? One tip of the car and you are launched into a flurry of unpredictable ups and downs and twists and turns. Each time you climb aboard this wild ride you are moved by a unique combination of laughter, screams, exhilaration and silence. You never know what you are going to get but you always arrive different than when you started. And each time more ease and possibility becomes available to you.
I’d love to know if these tips resonate for you. Reply back to this email and let me know!